High Fidelity and the Art of the Top 5 List

Posted on August 21, 2013 by Matt Jones under Top 5 List
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high fidelityWe’ve been talking about blogging about popular culture relating to death.  All of our bloggers are “funeral folks” to one degree or another, and probably more of our thoughts are filtered through death than “normal people” (at least mine are). One member of the writing team suggested “top five lists” and it seems to have generated some excitement in our group. When I heard the “top five” idea my head instantly went to the John Cusack movie from 2000, High Fidelity.

I love this movie and a specific scene came to mind, it doesn’t hurt that it mostly takes place in an independent record shop and I worked in one in high school. I love the “top five list of anything” concept and like a selfish child (or like the Jack Black character in the scene), I thought “THAT should have been mine!”  (Warning: if the “F Word” offends you, you will be offended by clicking the next link.)   In the scene, the three characters are killing time at work, “whistling in a graveyard”, by making a top 5 list about death songs in response to the death of the John Cusack character’s ex-girlfriend’s father. They feel young and invincible, thumbing their noses at death, and wasting time making top five lists!  I guess we are going to do some of these ourselves, and in some cases, may exhibit an arrogance and fearlessness that comes from standing so close to the fire for so long.

What is brilliant is that this scene (for me) also winks at the painful awkwardness that surrounds a funeral — a thing that puts death, life, memory, nostalgia, hurt feelings, and resonant joy (to name but a few) in a crucible under pressure and says “let’s see what happens next”.  The results are sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrifying, and generally at least a little different than anyone could predict.  Our writers have all stood as the uninvited guest in the intimate, sometimes best, and sometimes worst, moments of the lives of strangers.  We do so with reverence and respect for the experience.  We each integrate these moments to ourselves, and add our own measures of whimsy and anguish, our own bests and worsts.

We are genuinely excited to share our Top Five Lists with you and allow you to overhear what the funeral people were whispering about when you stopped to ask directions to the bathroom! So come back tomorrow to see our first Top 5 List. Let’s get it on!

Matt Jones

I never meant to be a Funeral Director. If you’d told the college-aged me that I would do this, I would have laughed at you. A few transitions and 17 years in funeral service later, I can’t imagine what else I would do. I like to cook, and laugh, philosophize and entertain so many of my friends have suggested that I should be a chef or run a bar. My educational background is pure science and I taught gross anatomy for a while. I have worked in a steel mill, a chemical factory, an independent record store, and a wine shop but I think I’m meant to do this. Along with my wife Beverly, I live in Northwest Columbus. We have no children or pets but usually have a house full of company!

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